Baltimore hasn’t been painted as a desirable place to live. From Homicide: Life on the Street to The Wire; from an insanely high number of violent crimes, to the highest murder per capita rate in the country; from drug infestation to a disproportionate level of STD’s; from an Orioles game being played before an empty stadium stemming from the Freddy Gray riots, to the corrupt archdiocese portrayed in the Netflix Original Series, The Keepers; Baltimore has earned its heavily tarnished reputation.
During ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary, Baltimore Boys, aired last night, our city was once again described as a municipal mess – an absolute urban cluster, dating back to the riots that erupted following the assassination of Martin Luther King. Rising from the ashes of East Baltimore were four youngsters, Reggie Williams, Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues, David Wingate and Reggie Lewis.
Each has their individual story of conquest, of overcoming adversity, of navigating their way through the insanely corrupt streets nearby Lafayette Square. They avoided the temptations, stayed true to the straight and narrow, all the while, focused on futures, far brighter than their upbringings could promise even on the most optimistic of days.
Their journeys are their legacy, tainted only by the sordid tale of Lewis’ passing.
They will forever be benchmarks for others growing up in similar environments.
These four men are examples for all of us, inspiring reminders of what can happen through hard work, determination and an insatiable thirst to succeed.
The unsung hero through it all, is Bob Wade. Wade was more than a coach. He was a mentor, a friend, a teacher and despite the absence of a one in his life, he was a father-like figure while guiding his team.
If you missed this edition of 30 for 30, find it. Enjoy it. Learn from it.
Hopefully the so-called leaders of our city did. Maybe they can learn something from these four remarkable Baltimore Boys.